Sog.: dall’omonimo romanzo di José Giovanni. Scen.: Jacques Becker, José Giovanni, Jean Aurel. F.: Ghislain Cloquet. M.: Marguerite Renoir. Scgf.: Rino Mondellini. Mus.: Philippe Arthuys. Int.: Michel Constantin (Géo), Roland- Jean Keraudy (Roland), Philippe Leroy (Manu), Raymond Meunier (‘Monsignore’), Marc Michel (Gaspard), Catherine Spaak (Nicole), Jean-Paul Coquelin (Grinval), André Bervil (il direttore del carcere), Eddy Rasimi (Bouboule), Paul Préboist (una guardia). Prod.: Serge Silberman per Play Art, Filmsonor, Titanus. DCP. D.: 120’. Bn.
Le Trou is based, by way of the novel by José Giovanni, on the story of Roland- Jean Keraudy, who plays himself in the film. Becker, who was already ill at the time, demanded absolute fidelity in the reconstruction of both the prison and the action that ensued therein. By the end of shooting, he was worn out and died on the 21st February having completed the editing but not the mixing, which was entrusted to his son and assistant, Jean Becker. The film was released on the 18th March. Faced with a commercial failure after the first few weeks, the distributor decided to cut about twenty minutes, which have never been seen since.
At the age of 52 his mastery and maturity led him to undertake an immense film in which all the essential aspects of the human condition would be addressed: dignity, courage, brotherhood, intelligence, nobility, respect and shame. There are only two possible settings for such a tale: war or prison. (And here I must apologise to the ladies, whom I love dearly, but it is only in these two circumstances that man finds himself without woman and can achieve his potential without being compromised by his desires, libido and complexes.) […] How many pages would be necessary to catalogue all the marvels of this masterpiece, of this film which I consider – and I choose my words carefully – as the greatest French film ever made?
Jean-Pierre Melville, Le Plus grand film français, “Cahiers du cinéma”, n. 107, May 1960